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考研教育网   2010-12-03 08:41 【 】【我要纠错


  This passage appears to be a digest of.

  (A) a book review

  (B) a scientific paper

  (C) a magazine feature

  (D) a newspaper editorial[199670]






  What accounts for the great outburst of major inventions in early America-breakthroughs such as the telegraph, the steamboat and the weaving machine?Among the many shaping factors, I would single out the country's excellent elementary schools; a labor force that welcomed the new technology; the practice of giving premiums to inventors; and above all the American genius for nonverbal,“spatial”thinking about things technological.

  Why mention the elementary schools? Thanks to these schools our early mechanics, especially in the New England and Middle Atlantic states, were generally literate and at home in arithmetic and in some aspects of geometry and trigonometry.Acute foreign observers related American adaptiveness and inventiveness to this educational advantage. As a member of a British commission visiting here in 1853 reported,“With a mind prepared by thorough school discipline, the American boy develops rapidlysintosthe skilled workman.”A further stimulus to invention came from the“premium”system, which preceded our patent system and for years ran parallel with it. This approach, originatedabroad, offered inventors medals, cash prizes and other incentives.In the United States, multitudes of premiums for new devices were awarded at country fairs and at the industrial fairs in major cities. Americans flocked to these fairs to admire the new machines and thus to renew their faith in the beneficence of technological advance.

  Given this optimistic approach to technological innovation, the American worker took readily to that special kind of nonverbal thinking required in mechanical technology. As Eugene Ferguson has pointed out,“A technologist thinks about objects that cannot be reduced to unambiguous verbal descriptions; they are dealt with in his mind by a visual, nonverbal process …… The designer and the inventor …… are able to assemble and manipulate in their minds devices that as yet do not exist.”This nonverbal“spatial”thinking can be just as creative as painting and writing. Robert Fulton once wrote,“The mechanic should sit down among levers, screws, wedges, wheels, etc., like a poet among the letters of the alphabet, considering them as an exhibition of his thoughts, in which a new arrangement transmits a new idea.”When all these shaping forces-schools, open attitudes, the premium system, a genius for spatial thinking-interacted with one another on the rich U.S. mainland, they produced that American characteristic, emulation. Today that word implies mere imitation. But in earlier times it meant a friendly but competitive striving for fame and excellence.

  The best title for this passage might be

  [A]Inventive Mind

  [C]Effective Schooling

  [B]Ways of Thinking

  [D]Outpouring of Inventions[1996.66]


  No company likes to be told it is contributing to the moral decline of nation.“Is this what you intended to accomplish with your careers?”Senator Robert Dole asked Time Warner executives last week.“You have sold your souls, but must you corrupt our nation and threaten our children as well?”At Time Warner, however, such questions are simply the latest manifestation of the soul_searching that has involved the company ever since it was born in 1990. It's a self_examination that has, at various times, involved issues of responsibility, creative freedom and the corporate bottom line.At the core of this debate is chairman Gerald Levin, 56, who took over for the late Steve Ross in 1992. On the financial front, Levin is under pressure to raise the stock price and reduce the company's mountainous debt, which will increase to .3 billion after two new cable deals close. He has promised to sell off some of the property and restructure the company, but investors are waiting impatiently.The flap over rap is not making life any easier for him. Levin has consistently defended the company's rap music on the grounds of expression. In 1992, when Time Warner was under fire for releasing Ice_T's violent rap song Cop Killer, Levin described rap as a lawful expression of street culture, which deserves an outlet.“The test of any democratic society,”he wrote in a Wall Street Journal column,“lies not in how well it can control expression but in whether it gives freedom of thought and expression the widest possible latitude, however disputable or irritating the results may sometimes be. We won't retreat in the face of any threats.”

  Levin would not comment on the debate last week, but there were signs that the chairman was backing off his hard_line stand, at least to some extent. During the discussion of rock singing verses at last month's stockholders' meeting, Levin asserted that“music is not the cause of society's ills”and even cited his son, a teacher in the Bronx, New York, who uses rap to communicate with students. But he talked as well about the“balanced struggle”between creative freedom and social responsibility, and he announced that the company would launch a drive to develop standards for distribution and labeling of potentially objectionable music.

  The 15_member Time Warner board is generally supportive of Levin and his corporate strategy. But insiders say several of them have shown their concerns in this matter.“Some of us have known for many, many years that the freedoms under the First Amendment are not totally unlimited,”says Luce.“I think it is perhaps the case that some people associated with the company have only recently come to realize this.”

  The best title for this passage could be.

  [A]A Company under Fire

  [B]A Debate on Moral Decline

  [C]A Lawful Outlet of Street Culture

  [D]A Form of Creative Freedom[1997.66]


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